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Terrebonne Genealogical Society

TGS Newsletter
Vol. 22 No. 11 March 2004

Visit our home page at http://www.rootsweb.com/~laterreb/tgs.htm

Membership, book orders and/or 
     address changes, contact: 
      Corresponding Secretary: Jess Bergeron 
      Email:  jessndot at juno.com
      Phone (985) 876–2348 
      TGS, Station 2 Box 295, Houma, LA 70360-0295 
News items or events, contact: 
     Newsletter Editor  Ed Hicks
      5306 Hwy 1, Raceland, LA 70394-2033 
      E-mail: edhicks at mobiletel.com
      Phone: (985) 532–3586 
NEXT MEETING:  Saturday, March 27, 2004
Main Library, Houma, LA 1:00 p.m.

    Dear Reader: This is a plea for help. Perhaps together we can resolve a dilemma which seems to be the undoing of  years of hard work. Let me explain. As long as we have been a society, one of our main goals has been to build up the collection of genealogy books in the Terrebonne Parish Public Library System. We produce some of the finest books available to researchers with an interest in the South Louisiana area, we sell them for a little over what it takes to publish them, and any profit we make is used to buy books, microfilm and equipment for the use of the patrons of the Terrebonne Parish Library. This method was working fine for twenty years or so. At first, the materials were housed in the Main Library building which was bursting at the seams. To relieve the situation, the collection was moved to a small neighborhood branch library (North Branch). It was on a major state highway not far from U.S. highway 90, easily accessed by visitors from all over. Midway between Houma and Thibodaux, it was convenient to most of our local members.
      Then the voters of Terrebonne Parish voted for an increase in taxes (!) so that the library would be funded more in keeping with the services it was providing. Lo and behold, a big, beautiful, new library was built. We now have our own Genealogy Department with all sorts of amenities: a special room for the microfilm readers, an office for the Reference Librarian, and beautiful designer shelves for our comprehensive collection of books. But we are beginning to hear complaints from patrons of the Genealogy Department. Our great collection seems to be daunting to the new Librarians On Duty. So much so that when asked for help, the response from an L.O.D may sometimes be anything from “I don’t have time to help you, I’m scheduled to work in another area in a few minutes.” to “I’m not qualified to help you. I’m just a Reference Librarian.” When we approach the head of the library system, we are told that there is no provision in the budget for a full-time Genealogy Department Librarian.
     OK, maybe we’re spoiled. From the earliest days of the existence of the society, we have had our own librarian. With librarian training, she was also an avid genealogist. When computers came in, she saw their potential and was willing to learn about them, even though she was getting ready to retire. When she did retire, she volunteered at the library one day a week to help others find their way around the collection. She was one of the guiding lights of our society, having helped to get it started and always interested in its affairs. Dorotha Horvath is gone to a better place, now, and we miss her. Be that as it may, we have to solve the present problem.
     That’s why I am appealing to you, our members, for help. We don’t want our new Genealogy Department to die from neglect, but we can see the writing on the wall. If a person who has never done any genealogical research comes in and asks for help to get started, what is she or he going to hear? “Let’s go on the internet.” “Here is the computer, let’s look it up in the online card catalog.” “Tell me the book you want and I can help you find it.”
     What is being done in other libraries? Some genealogy societies have their own library, separate from the public library system. Some public libraries have one or more certified librarian-genealogists on duty at all times. Some societies have volunteers to take one or more days a week to work in the library. What is your advice? Please mail or email us (Jess or Ed) your suggestions and/or experiences in other libraries. We are ready for your input.
      Now don’t get me wrong. We have a wonderful library and a most helpful staff, as evidenced by their being awarded the coveted title of Louisiana Public Library of the Year.  Board Chairman Charles Davidson was also noted as trustee of the year. The award recognizes public libraries that have shown innovation, achievement and outstanding community service. A panel of librarians from The Louisiana Library Association judged public libraries from across the state comparing the libraries’ services, statistics and human resources for the last three years. If you want to read the complete article, it was published on March 7, 2004, and is available at the Houma Courier’s website, here: <<http://www.houmatoday.com>> I am only concerned with our beautiful Genealogy Room.

DEATHS: Our sympathies go out to Board Member Louis Duet and his wife Sharon, in the death of her mother, Laura Maronge Ayo, on March 5, 2004; a native and resident of Thibodaux, LA. She is survived by two sons, Scott Ayo and wife Tammy, and Stuart Ayo and wife Kristie; four daughters, Sheryl Zeringue and husband Robert, Sharon Duet and husband Louis, Sue Adams and husband Cecil, and Sally Tardiff; two sisters, Vivian Landry and Grace Benoit; 14 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild. She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul O. Ayo; her parents, Philip and Elizabeth Toups Maronge Sr.; one granddaughter, Stephanie Tardiff; and two brothers, Philip Jr. and William “Bill” Maronge.
 Please remember in your prayers charter member (and lifetime member) Ruby Pennison (Babin) Gabriel, whose son, Gary Babin, died on March 6, 2004. A native and resident of Houma, he was a parishioner of St. Bernadette Catholic Church. He is survived by his mother and stepfather, Louis Gabriel; three sons, Brian M., Lee M., and Lane H. Babin; one daughter, Brie M. Babin; two sisters, Meryl B. Romano and Mary B. St. Germain; his grandmother, Elodie Louviere Pennison; and two grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father, Henry J. Babin; one son, Gary M. Babin Jr.; and his grandparents, Arthur Pennison, Claude Babin and Mathilda Chauvin Babin.
 Also, our Corresponding Secretary, Jess Bergeron Jr. lost his father on Sunday, February 29, 2004, after a long illness. He was a resident of Church Point, LA, and a veteran of the U.S. Army. Survivors include his wife, Ethel Fruge Bergeron of Prairie Ronde; two sons, Jess Bergeron Jr. and his wife, Dorothy Matte, of Houma, and Rodney Bergeron and his wife Beryl Fontenot, of Prairie Ronde; two stepdaughters, Ella Rose Chatman and her husband, David, of Big Cane and Sandra Thibodeaux and her husband, A.J., of Dupont; a stepson, Chris Turner of Baton Rouge; five grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; nine step grandchildren; and 18 step great-grandchildren. Mr. Bergeron was preceded in death by his first wife, Verna Comeaux Bergeron; his parents, Jean Baptiste Bergeron and Laura Thibodeaux; three brothers, William Preston, Warner Paul and John Rodney Bergeron; and a stepson, Herman Turner Jr.
 We were saddened to hear of the loss suffered by member Claire Olivier Porretto in the death of her sister, Marguerite Olivier. Marguerite, native of Franklin, LA, and resident of Houma, died on Monday, March 8, 2004. Claire, her husband Frank, and their family are her only survivors. She was preceded in death by her parents, Dozillian J. And Isabelle Becnel Olivier; and three brothers, Daniel J., Thomas C. and Julian A. Olivier. She was a retired registered nurse.
  
BYE-BYE: We have to say good-bye now if this is your last newsletter. Check your address label for the notation EX2004 and if you find it, well, what can I say? You blew it. This is the year 2004 and you have an expired membership. We are sending this newsletter especially to remind those of you that thought you had mailed us your dues. You forgot. Well, it is not too late. We are giving you a “grace period.” Now, for individual memberships, send us $25; for family or contributing memberships, $30; or for libraries, $22. Send it now. You won’t get another reminder from us.
 
WRECKING BALL: Got a brick wall? Have we got a book for you! It is the Assumption Parish Marriages 1906 - 1917: Courthouse Marriages, Napoleonville, LA, and it is full of information. Marcie L. and Essie Cavalier worked long and hard to find all the married couples in Assumption Parish during those years, and they found a bunch. I just recently was made aware of the fact that many married couples moved south to raise their families. Maybe they were unhappy or just wanted to go someplace different, but they moved “down the bayou.” You would be surprised at how often that scenario played out in different families. Maybe you have seen the previous volume with the years 1918 - 1926; this is a companion volume. It is formatted in alphabetical order by name of bride or groom, with a soft cover and Velo binding. Check it out. Take advantage of our pre-publication offer.
 
N.G.S. CONFERENCE: Yep, the National Genealogical Society is having their seminar 19-22 May 2004, and is it a whopper! It is called the NGS Conference in the States, and will be held in Sacramento, California. I don’t have time or space to go into the whole program. Get your own brochure. There are some available at the Genealogy Department of the Terrebonne Parish Main Library, Houma, LA, and you can write 2004 NGS Conference, 4527 17th St. North, Arlington, VA 22207-2399 or register online: <<http://www.ngsgenealogy.org>> and hurry, seating is limited for some events. Just a few names: Keynote speaker, Dr. Tukufu Zuberi from PBS’s History Detectives, Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGI, FNGS, FASG, Claire Mire Bettag, CGRS, CGI,  Michael J. Leclerc, Pamela Boyer Porter, CGRS, CGI, to name just a few. Very impressive lineup. Can I hitch a ride with anyone? I can help drive.
 
LEGENDS LIVE FOREVER: That’s what the title of the Conference for the Nation’s Genealogists is for 2004. Sponsored by the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), it is being held in Austin, Texas, on September 8-11 of 2004. You will be able to hear Elizabeth, Claire, Pamela and Michael, but Tukufu has other plans. Our own Judy Riffel (They have “Riffe” but I’m sure it is a typo.) will discuss Identifying the Last Slaveowner and Marjorie Sholes-Higgins will cover “SCOTT” Louisiana Case Study subtitled how to research your ancestor who was a slave and who were the slave owners.
 
DOROTHA’S LEGACY: Dorotha Horvath left her genealogical materials to the Terrebonne Parish Library, and they contained a complete set (or almost complete) of the KIDD FAMILY NEWSLETTER which the society has had bound and has submitted to the library for processing. Look for them on the shelves soon.
 
TOBACCO IN TERREBONNE? No one at the February meeting had ever heard of a tobacco plantation in Terrebonne Parish in 1910 or thereabouts, but if you have, please let us know. The owners surname is not known, but their given names were Charles and Elizabeth, if that helps.
 
OCCUPATIONS: Our esteemed publisher and editor of our quarterly, Audrey Barnes Westerman, did a fine job of discussing the Early Settlers of Lower Lafourche and Their Occupations at the Louisiana Heritage Day on Sunday, March 14, 2004. You should have been there. We had lots of good food, music, dancing, and havin’ a good time. Next time.
 
COMPUTER CORNER: Some websites that have been recommended: Stanley LeBlanc does an excellent job with the Cajun - Acadian website 
<<http://www.thecajuns.com/>> Try it.
 If the subject of slavery and escape from slavery holds any fascination for you, you have to see the following website. Patty (Whitney-Gravois) says that there is a movie associated with the website with the title Whispers of Angels but I haven’t seen it.
<<http://www.whispersofangels.com/index.html>>
 
QUERIES, QUERIES, QUERIES: You know you have some problem families — you know the ones: what was the wife’s maiden name? when did they get married, and where? are the two Josephs father and son? Send it to us for publication in the quarterly. It is not the fastest way to get information, but it is usually reliable because you are getting it from a fellow genealogist. You know that information from the  internet is often worth exactly what you pay for it.

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